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Community Foundation of Swan Valley

Leaving an everlasting legacy for the Swan River Valley, Manitoba, Canada

Story – December 9, 2010

Chairman’s Report for 2009-10 Annual Report

— By Keith Behrmann from Annual Report for July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 —

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So where does one start? The most obvious place would be at the beginning; however the beginning can mean different things to different people. Each family has a story to tell about how they came to live here. Some family stories would predate the fur trade, some confederation, and yet others as recent as yesterday. Regardless of timelines or who was telling the story, I am certain there would be common themes of hope, the chance for a better life, to be surrounded by the beauty or to participate in the bounty produced in the natural settings of our Valley. Whatever the reason, whether by choice or by chance, the Swan River Valley became the place many of us call home.

As we look into each of the communities and gathering places within the Valley we discover a sense of pride and purpose that comes from belonging to something that is bigger than the sum of its parts. Some might attribute this to the personal values of the individuals who live here. Other may give credit to those who came before and instilled these values, leaving a legacy to those who followed. You do not have to go through reams of paper or probe the memories of the locals to find the bricks and mortar, funded with the dollars raised through donations, raffles, bake sales, dances or suppers and put in place by willing volunteers. These buildings are everywhere, whether it is churches, halls, rinks or school rooms. They stand as a testament to those who saw the need and did their part to make it happen, giving their time, talent, and yes, even their treasures. No doubt many of you participated in the building process, providing the various venues that exist throughout our Valley to be enjoyed then, now and into the future.

The need to make a positive difference, to create a legacy for others to enjoy, can be found beyond the bricks and mortar, away from the towns and meeting places, discovered in the quiet solitudes of the nature that embraces this Valley. Lakes and streams found in the Duck or Porcupine Mountains stocked with a variety of fish species, to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. The thrill one experiences as that big Northern takes your hook and rushes toward that weed bed or the taste of fresh Walleye fillets cooked over an open camp fire, creating memories to be recalled, relived and retold, made possible by those wanting to maintain and improve the chances for others to enjoy such experiences.

The groomed winter trails that wind through the snow covered evergreens taking you to places that, at one time would have been only possible on foot. You stop to enjoy the view of this winter wonderland, the spruce branches bowing under the weight of the fresh fallen snow, the expanse of the valley below, trees in the distant glistening from the hoarfrost reflecting the rays of the winter sun. The chill of the winter day sets in and you are directed to one of the many shelters where you can warm up and relax over a cup of hot chocolate and get ready for the ride back. Another memory made possible by those who want to make the Valley experience one to be enjoyed.

The Valley has and continues to exhibit, a tradition of giving. The list of all the causes, buildings or people who have benefited from this generosity is long and quite encompassing. The fact that your Community Foundation has received in excess of $1,000,000.00 dollars in the short five years since its inception is a tribute to the generosity of the citizens of this Valley, both past and present. Your gifts are creating a legacy. The principal is never consumed and will always be there, benefiting future generations. The interest earned on these gifts flows back into our communities, improving lives, strengthening families and building our communities today, tomorrow and into the future.

Please consider the Community Foundation of Swan Valley when making your gifting decision, not only will you receive a charitable tax receipt, you will have contributed to an endowment that will continue in perpetuity, benefiting those who chose to call our Valley home.